The Car Seat Sessions

Photo (C) Dmytro Samsonov 2007

I am happy to share the following story that is now referred to in our family as “The Car Seat Sessions.”

My son screamed whenever we put him in the car seat during the first four months of his life. Once he was old enough to sit face forward I thought that we had put it all behind us. But the issue began to surface again shortly after his second birthday.

It started when my son refused to go to the park with the babysitter. Then he only wanted to go out in mommy’s car. Finally his need to work out issues reached its peak. It would take longer and longer to get him in the car seat. When I finally got him in it was an endless deafening scream interrupted with “I’m stuck”! Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, my son turned into Houdini and escaped from his car seat. It was now taking an average of two hours just to get a few miles.

One day, he was escaping while I drove, and I had no choice but to pull into a shopping center and park in a loading zone. I took him out of the car and held him as gently as I could while he kicked and screamed. I told him I was there for him; I loved him; I knew he didn’t like to feel stuck and I heard his frustration. A man approached and told me to move but I was dedicated to listening to my son. Soon a crowd of people began to stare. They tried to offer advice, all of which I politely rejected. Forty minutes later he calmed down and said, “Thank you, Mommy.”

We had several more of these “sessions” before he could climb into his car seat and ask me to buckle him in safely. It has been about a month now and when he needs to have a cry about something he simply asks to go to mommy’s car.

Not to go bye-bye, but to express his feelings where he knows he can have uninterrupted listening time.

I am quite proud of his ability to make me listen. I’m grateful for having learned how to “Listen To Children”!

— a mother in Los Angeles, CA

There’s more listening stories here and here. You can download our booklet Reaching For Your Angry Child here to see how the  power of listening can transform tantrums. 

Listen by Patty Wpfler

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